December 19, 2019

Your Congregation and Innovation


The Harvard Business Review defines innovation as “the difficult discipline of newness.” What new thing is forming in your congregation? The congregation I attended last Sunday is starting a Friday night dinner, which will end with communion. In explaining the gathering, the pastor said “We don’t have to wait for Sunday to break bread together.”…

August 26, 2019

Key Practices of Thriving Congregations


How would you describe a thriving congregation? Perhaps a thriving congregation has young people attending worship. Another thriving congregation might manage conflict well. At the Center for Congregations in Indiana, we interact with all kinds of flourishing congregations. Here’s what we’re learning from faith communities that thrive.   Healthy Strategies Focus on congregational assets rather…

April 11, 2019

The Formative Power of Your Congregation


Many elements make you the person you are. You are shaped by your race, your geographic location, and your genetic structure. Your personality is formed by your family, your friends, and the choices you make along the way. You are influenced by education, social affiliations and friendships. All of us are formed by the company…

October 22, 2018

The Multicultural Congregation


I’m having more conversations with congregations that characterize themselves as multicultural. For example, I met with a governing board of a Caucasian congregation that had recently welcomed 20 refugees from Ethiopia. A board member said, “We sing songs that are new to us.” Another pastor called the Center for Congregations looking for resources related to talking…

September 17, 2018

From Hallowed Space to Holograms: A Conversation with Hayim Herring


Center for Congregations President Tim Shapiro spoke with Hayim Herring, consultant, nonprofit organizational futurist and author of Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World: Platforms, People, and Purpose. Below are snippets of their conversation. Tim: Thanks to you and your colleague Dr. Teri Elton for introducing us to the phrase “Foresight is 20/20.” In…

July 16, 2018

One Budgeting Idea when Funds are Scarce


Sometimes funds are scarce. God has created the world abundant with water, trees, blue skies and people we love. Though we have what we need, we don’t have everything. In congregations, this lack is sometimes evident regarding budgets. Budget realities The finance team would like to increase the budget for youth ministry, but the cost…

July 10, 2018

Doing Something New? Five Key Questions


Is your congregation planning something new? If so, there are five key questions you can ask yourself and the group with which you are working. The five questions apply to almost every kind of congregational project. These key questions provide focus. Responses to these questions will provide structure for your work. You and your colleagues…

June 6, 2018

Your Caring Congregation


Congregations have long been places that nurture the care of souls. Long ago, the early church created strategies and tactics to care for widows and children. Nowadays, care in congregations involves visits to the sick, end-of-life care, support for grieving families, celebrating life transitions, encouragement for older adults, befriending those who experience loneliness and so…

May 16, 2018

How Do You Use Social Media?


How does your congregation use Facebook? If you are a clergyperson, do you manage Twitter or Instagram for ministry? How about Pinterest or Snapchat or YouTube? An instrument for ministry The congregations that make the best use of Facebook and other social media are the ones that view these tools as instruments for ministry, not…

March 26, 2018

Revisiting Bowen Family Systems


During the 1950s, a psychiatrist named Murray Bowen created a new intervention for those with family members suffering from schizophrenia. Two decades later, Rabbi Edwin Friedman used Bowen’s theory to help clergy think about congregational life. Friedman’s acclaimed book, Generation to Generation, launched the theory as a helpful leadership method for congregations. Congregational leadership By…

1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4